Connecting Regions of Asia.

Simon Dring No More

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One of my role models in journalism and a great friend of Bangladesh Simon Dring ( the other is Sir Mark Tully, my first BBC boss)  has just passed away. 
 Simon died on Friday during routine surgery for a bowel obstruction. 
He reported for the BBC from many conflict zones between 1960-80s. He leaves behind his partner Fiona and two young children, Ava and India.
Simon  started as a feature writer on the Bangkok World newspaper when only 18. 
He went on to report the Vietnam war, reporting for Reuters and other news organisations. 
His subsequent career for The Telegraph and the BBC was marked by quality reporting from Biafra, Bangladesh, Eritrea and many other conflict zones. He was on the plane carrying Khomeni back from Paris to Iran in 1979. Simon was injured several times and imprisoned in Uganda by Amin where he was threatened with execution. 
Simon won many awards,  in Britain and elsewhere. Wonder if the new BBC remembers Simon . 
In 1997, Simon Dring joined with partners in Bangladesh to build Ekushey Television, the first private, commercial terrestrial/satellite TV channel in Bangladesh. As Joint Managing Director of ETV (working with Farhad Mahmud, son of the ETV Chairman, the late A. S. Mahmud), Dring helped create a vision for ETV that was as much about news and education as it was about entertainment and retaining the values of the Great Liberation War.
 He established what was, in effect, the first television news operation in the country with a team of more than 50 reporters, producers, and editors. Some of them are big names in Bangladesh media now.
In 2002, during the BNP- Jamaat government, the Bangladesh Supreme Court cancelled the licence of Ekushey  TV station. 
The government immediately cut off ETV’s broadcasts, drawing global condemnation.The home ministry opened an enquiry on the validity of the work permit of Simon Dring, then heading  Ekushey TV. Some ministry officials wanted legal action against him while others want him deported. 
That changed with the Awami League’s return to power. Dring’s  reporting on the crimes of the Pakistani army and their Bangladeshi collaborators will remain a model for fearless journalism.
I hope Bangladesh remembers one of its real friends.

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